Desperately Seeking Literary Agent by Deb Mia

Debut fiction author, about to be published, seeks literary representation after ending it with current literary agent. Must be willing to discuss possible story ideas, be open to light editing or comments. Similar philosophy on writing, publishing, and marketing preferred. Has time for me. Laughs at my jokes (I promise to laugh at yours!). Firm but flexible. Responds promptly. Current list should be impressive but manageable, with a view that adding me would be a wonderful complement. Able to sell foreign, dramatic and audio rights (bonus if rights are sold prior to publication). Must be excited to be working with me, excited for my writing career, and loves being a literary agent and helping authors get published.

Yes, it’s true. I am agent-less. A little over two years since I first signed on the dotted line, I have ended it with my agent. Don’t get me wrong: she’s a good agent, she’s been in the business a long time, she accepted me as a client (always a nice thing), she sold my novel to a great publishing house, and on this day of all days, I am thankful for her. Really.

But I didn’t really consider if we would be a good team for the long haul. We’re not. There’s lots of reasons why, and I won’t get into it since my reasons will differ from yours or anyone else’s. Suffice it to say that I’ve agonized over this for almost a year. Releasing an agent is almost as hard as finding one.

Future published writers, don’t learn the hard way. Get your writing as good as it can get, choose your agent carefully, research potential agents thoroughly, work on a kick-ass query and keep refining it until someone on your short list says YES. Then interview them. They need you as much as you need them (I know it doesn’t feel that way now, but it’s true).

You need to believe in yourself and in your writing, and that you deserve to find a literary agent who is the right fit for you. This is not something you want to settle for, trust me. The right literary agent is like the right marriage partner, and all the work you produce and sell ARE your children. Do this now, because if you desperately sign with the first person who says yes, you’ll be in the same boat as me, and it’s tough. For starters, you never really “end” it with a literary agent who has successfully sold your writing. You will continue to be married for as long as that literary property is receiving royalties. She will forever be able to negotiate rights on that property. Getting a divorce is yucky, especially if there are “kids” involved. My former agent and I will be co-parenting GOOD THINGS for a very long time.

I’m still processing and trying not to panic (Did I make a mistake? No! Yes! No!), and despite the title of this post, am not quite ready to jump back into the find-an-agent scene. But I’m still a lover of a good agent-author relationship. It’s out there, somewhere, and I hope every author, including myself, finds it.

8 Replies to “Desperately Seeking Literary Agent by Deb Mia”

  1. Bravo! You couldn’t be more right- it isn’t just about having an agent. It is about having the right agent for you. For every person this can be a bit different. You’ll find him or her and they will feel lucky to get you.

  2. Wow, a startling little whack of reality. Great post, Mia, and an important post too. The business has its ups, downs, and its sideways, and those sideways trips are the ones you don’t – can’t plan for. Congratulations to you for being strong enough to take care of what you knew wasn’t working so you could move on to what is going to in a timely manner. You have my admiration.

  3. There’s no reason for you, Mia, to “settle” with anything other than what’s best for you. After all, you’ll soon be a published author! Thank you for sharing your experience and reminding all of us the lessons we need to learn and implement. Much good luck.

  4. This is SUCH a great series of posts! I’m a baby writer….just begun the whole query thing a couple weeks ago for my first novel. I was offered representation by an agent who belongs to my writer’s guild and I turned it down because I knew we would not work well together. He is not a member of the AAR and I wanted to have an agent who would mentor me…not one who wanted a ride with my manuscript. Now, I’ve been terrified that I’d made a mistake, but this post is exactly what I needed to hear!

    Thanks to all of you for taking time to help us out…..seriously!

  5. Rhona, we’re so happy to see you here. If you had a feeling that you wouldn’t work well together then you definitely did the right thing. Those feelings do NOT go away, they only intensify. Let us know if there are questions we can answer for you!

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